This podcast playlist was curated as a group effort out of the NYC Podcast Brunch Club, including Rebecca Seidel (chapter leader), Taylor McGraw, Jessica Glazer, Zeynep Memecan, and Maggi Van Dorn.
Memory guides so much of our lives. The choices we make, the stories we tell, the way we move through the world—it all comes back to what we remember, and what we don’t. When we started putting together this list, we quickly realized that we’d have to narrow it down a lot. There were so many aspects of memory we could focus on. Here are just a few of the million questions we bounced around:
- How does memory actually work?
- Why do some people seem to have sharper memories than others?
- When memory leaves, what remains?
- How does memory shape history, and why is our collective memory of historical events important?
- What about people who remember everything? What are their lives like?
The list went on. Luckily, there are tons of podcasters who are just as fascinated with memory as we are, so it was easy to find episodes that spoke to each other. We settled on a lineup that includes some science, some ethics, and quite a few powerful stories.
We hope these discussions get you thinking, feeling, and remembering. And if you want to dive in even further, peep the bonus episodes at the bottom of this page.
Podcast Playlist on Memory
*Note: You can always get the latest PBC playlist on the RadioPublic app
Radiolab – Memory and Forgetting
(1 hour, June 2007)
In their classic curious style, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore how memories are formed—and, just as importantly, how they’re forgotten. You’ll hear the story of rats who were trained to remember fear, an artist who painted a memory back into existence, and a man who could only remember two things: music and love.
All in the Mind – Music of Memory
(29 minutes, January 2016)
For people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, music can trigger powerful memories. This episode profiles a nonprofit that’s helping people reconnect with the world through personalized playlists.
Memory Motel – #05: Court of Memory
(Apple Podcasts | Google Play // 27 minutes, June 2016)
In the criminal justice system, the stakes of memory can be dangerously high. A faulty memory can put the wrong person in jail and leave the real criminal free. Host Terence Mickey explores what happens when faulty memories land in a courtroom.
Conversation Starters about the Memory Podcast Playlist
- The Radiolab episode mentions how medical professionals can work with people to selectively “remove” memories—or, in a sense, fabricate them. Is it problematic to mess with people’s memories?
- How do you feel knowing that as time passes, the details of your memories grow further and further removed from what actually happened?
- Do you have any methods for holding onto memories (writing, recording, etc.)? Does documenting events help you remember them?
- When people are called as witnesses in court, they can often get the details wrong. Even worse, they can misidentify a suspect entirely. Is this a problem that society can fix? Whose responsibility is it?
- Has there been a time when your memory has been faulty, and there have been consequences?
- Music stirs up powerful memories in people. Have you ever experienced this?
- The Memory Palace: Notes on an Imagined Plaque
- Stuff You Should Know: How Memory Works
- You Are Not So Smart: The Science of Misremembering
- An InExact Science: Remembering to Remember
- This American Life: Remember Me
- The Story Collider: Working Memory: Stories About How Memory Shapes Us
- StoryCorps: 447: Forget Me Not
- Terrible, Thanks For Asking: Help Me Remember
- The Takeaway: Meet the Man Who Can Remember Everything
- The Tim Ferriss Show: Ed Cooke, Grandmaster of Memory
- All Things Considered: Memory Champs? They’re Just Like the Rest of Us
DJ RuggedAngel’s Music Playlist
Take a break from listening to podcasts, and get your groove on with some music. Our very own DJ RuggedAngel put together this “Memory” music playlist especially for PBC.